Dissapointing kits? ever have one?

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dr wogz

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Ever buy a kit and after it was complete (or nearly complete) look at it and go "M'eh"? A kit that looked good, or you thought it was a neat idea / concept / design only to look at it afterwards and think you paid too much for it? That it maybe didn't live up to the face card, that it's smaller / shorter / thinner / the proportions are off? Not talking about parts missing or what should be included, or quality of the parts, but the overall build / construction / design of the kit..


I bought a 'Quinstar' over the week-end and was going to do a build thread on it. Only it's much smaller than I thought, and when I opened the bag, the parts count seemed awfully low for the price I paid.. and flimsy too. (but I get that, to keep it light..) So, while it's pretty much 80% built... M'eh.. Would I have paid $25 for it (taxes & such included)? No. $15 or $20 max, with taxes & such..
 
Ever buy a kit and after it was complete (or nearly complete) look at it and go "M'eh"? A kit that looked good, or you thought it was a neat idea / concept / design only to look at it afterwards and think you paid too much for it? That it maybe didn't live up to the face card, that it's smaller / shorter / thinner / the proportions are off? Not talking about parts missing or what should be included, or quality of the parts, but the overall build / construction / design of the kit..


I bought a 'Quinstar' over the week-end and was going to do a build thread on it. Only it's much smaller than I thought, and when I opened the bag, the parts count seemed awfully low for the price I paid.. and flimsy too. (but I get that, to keep it light..) So, while it's pretty much 80% built... M'eh.. Would I have paid $25 for it (taxes & such included)? No. $15 or $20 max, with taxes & such..

The Mega Der Red Max. I know everyone loves this rocket, but I just don't dig it. I never liked the stock decal/paint scheme, so I even put in a bunch of effort to make a Duke (my alma mater) themed decal set for it. No good, still just don't like it. It had a hard landing, so one of the fins is loose. Likely just needs some epoxy injected through the aft ring, but I doubt I'll ever bother. Flies well, but I just don't like the rocket.

 
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I bought a 'Quinstar' over the week-end and was going to do a build thread on it. Only it's much smaller than I thought, and when I opened the bag, the parts count seemed awfully low for the price I paid.. and flimsy too. (but I get that, to keep it light..) So, while it's pretty much 80% built... M'eh.. Would I have paid $25 for it (taxes & such included)? No. $15 or $20 max, with taxes & such..

Certainly it's all personal taste but I really enjoyed building and then especially flying my Quinstar. The 1/16" balsa stops being flimsy once everything is all glued together. Fun flier on D12s (or C6s if you stay with the 18mm mount).

I don't think I've had a disappointing kit yet but then my count is fairly low. I think what would most disappoint me would be bad quality components and/or bad assembly instructions.
 
The Dynastar Orion. Considering the simple components, it's rather expensive. It uses those crappy "sticker" decals, and it flies like a scalded cat.
 
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Oh, there have been a few!
One of the worst was a kit from the Union Stadt Zeppelin Works,
The Die Fledrmaus
https://www.rocketreviews.com/the-union-stadt-zeppelin-works-die-fledermaus-matt-gillard.html
Marginal parts, poor instructions. I launched it once and it pranged.
This company is no longer in business so I can slam them.

The Round 2 MPC kits aren't much.
The Porky Pig Cadet Cruiser was a real dog in the build and had unstable flights.
But the MPC Red Giant is a good sport flier. You can pick them up cheap now.

Many current kits have had cheap parts but I can usually strengthen or substitute something better.
 
I bought a 'Quinstar' over the week-end and was going to do a build thread on it. Only it's much smaller than I thought, and when I opened the bag, the parts count seemed awfully low for the price I paid.. and flimsy too. (but I get that, to keep it light..) So, while it's pretty much 80% built... M'eh.. Would I have paid $25 for it (taxes & such included)? No. $15 or $20 max, with taxes & such..

I also built a Quinstar but really liked the kit.
It's a great example of what is possible with laser cutting. A very clever design.
Mine is converted for 24mm D engine flights.
https://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/search/label/E Quinstar
 
My worst kit was the PML Lil Lunar Express. The fin material was way to thin and led to the fins breaking on landing every time. The parachute supplied was too small, and the way the kit is designed with a 3" stuffer tube, it's tough to upsize the chute enough to get a super soft landing. The pods on the fins didn't help with the fin snappage too. I had one pod break off right at the edge of the pod to fin joint.
 
My disappointment is relative to the price I paid for the kit and I have paid well over $1000.00 for kits with shipping, exchange, duties and taxes Poor fitting components, and workmanship is what bugs me the most. However at this stage of my experience, a poorly designed rocket I blame on myself for not recognizing it before the buy decision or during the build.
 
Everything from Estes since moving to china.

You know......That whole scenario was like a punch in the gut. Granted, Estes still had a few flimsy parts, like those old ill fitting 20-50 CR's and gray shock cords that dry rotted in a few years, but for the most part, they had a much better quality kit then. Balsa nose cones and fins you had to cut by hand were just part of the build process in those days. Decals don't seem as rigid as they used to be either. And GAWD, I really don't wanna get started with those vacuformed parts for the SAT V either. It's no wonder I stock my own selected parts and design all my own rockets anymore.
 
You know......That whole scenario was like a punch in the gut. Granted, Estes still had a few flimsy parts, like those old ill fitting 20-50 CR's and gray shock cords that dry rotted in a few years, but for the most part, they had a much better quality kit then. Balsa nose cones and fins you had to cut by hand were just part of the build process in those days. Decals don't seem as rigid as they used to be either. And GAWD, I really don't wanna get started with those vacuformed parts for the SAT V either. It's no wonder I stock my own selected parts and design all my own rockets anymore.

I flew in the late 80's and 90's, so die cut fins, some laser cuts toward the end, and a good bit of nice kits with plastic nose cones. My favorite is likely obvious ;)

Now, crushed tubes, warped fins and unusable instructions seem the norm. I know, I've heard a dozen times how hard it was and the reasons for making tri lingual instructions. They're terrible. print 3 sets for the love of god and stuff them in. Charge more for each kit if you have to, but the current instructions are nearly useless and confusing for children. The old sets were clear, useful, and informative. now it's a mismatch of run on languages, and chopped to the bare text needed, to make room.... just blah≥
 
There is many kits I think are over priced for what they are/what you get.
But there are always sales, get lucky on Ebay auctions, coupons and clearance (non of late :().
That being said, the E2X Estes (myself being a builder and like a challenge) and the Quest Quik-Kits are huge disappointment in my opinion.
But everyone has to remember I can only speak for LP kits.
I think some of the biggest disappointments is spending lots of time on a scale kit (say...Saturn V or Mercury Redstone) and when it comes to flying it...
The altitude you get out of it for all that hard work falls way short, along with the amount of time spent in the air.
Might as well not fly them as they tend to receive damage on landings.
They might as well become static models for the value (fun) of the flights you get with damage on landings.
I've also had kits turn out poorly on the aesthetic side of things. A paint job doesn't turn out as good as I thought it would, or doesn't look right for the kit.
Some...the provided engine mounts seam to be too small, some too big for the rocket.
But with the abundance of parts and accessories I have on hand... That's an easy fix for me.
Some of my own designs have also turned out to be some what of a disappointment.
Meaning that they don't look as good when built as they do in concept drawings, or they don't perform as expected.
Also...to me anyways...those large mid and high power jobs that cost 100's, even 1000's of dollars isn't worth it.
Staged low power rockets can easy go 1/2 mile high for under $10 worth of engines and under $50 for a kit (or components if I scratch build).
 
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Estes is now junk. Junk made in China, especially disappointed in the Estes Mercury Redstone, cheap tubing, parachutes that easily melt, and the capsule is a pain in the neck to assemble, since Estes messed up thr size pieces of the capsule.

Thanks,
 
The Estes Star Dart. Even though a 3FNC rocket, I had decided to buy it because of the cool decal on the fin.
Turns out there is no decal - they tell you how to hand draw the pattern - but no way would I have a steady enough hand.
I felt the cover art was deceptive

star dart.jpg
 
Estes Cosmos Mariner. Glides like a brick. A very poorly flying brick. On its best day.


Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
 
The Estes Astroblaster, was almost totally useless as a rocket glider with the estes motors available at the time, 20 second flight time maybe...The kit was fine, just flight performance.

Almost every kit I've built had some sort of cheesy component I'd replace, either shock cord material(nylon on HP or elastic on heavy model rockets) or shock cord mount, often parachutes, sometimes fin material. That's why I almost exclusively do scratch builds because I can use the components that I trust. There are things that will probably work for a few flights and things that will last.

On my glider kits I've tried to address that by supplying exactly what I personally use on my own models and have flown 30-50 times and I know they work and last. Of course now someone will post that they were dissapointed in one of my kits:)

Kitting, especially by small manufacturers is a tradeoff between cost and the market price point you are trying to hit, when I get to the point of having to cut quality or completeness of parts I'll just stop offering the kits, but I'm not trying to make a living doing this.

Frank
 
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My worst kit was the PML Lil Lunar Express. The fin material was way to thin and led to the fins breaking on landing every time. The parachute supplied was too small, and the way the kit is designed with a 3" stuffer tube, it's tough to upsize the chute enough to get a super soft landing. The pods on the fins didn't help with the fin snappage too. I had one pod break off right at the edge of the pod to fin joint.

Agreed. The model looks really cool, but doesn't fly as good as it looks. I cut-off the top of the stuffer tube and up-sized to a larger chute. The chute material had to be really thin in order to be a large diameter and the model still landed hard and broke a fin every time. I put on extra large fin fillets at the root edge and the fins still broke. Repaired one last time years ago and never flew it again.
 
Almost every kit I've built had some sort of cheesy component I'd replace, either shock cord material(nylon on HP or elastic on heavy model rockets) or shock cord mount, often parachutes, sometimes fin material. That's why I almost exclusively do scratch builds because I can use the components that I trust. There are things that will probably work for a few flights and things that will last.
Frank

AMEN! I concur with this comment 100%. If I have a kit to build, it's usually because someone gifted it to me. I can't think of 1 (one) that I'd spend any money on these days.
 
Estes Partizon:
My first "big rocket". Got into HPR before finally flying it and was ho hum about it. Had a forward closure let go in it (I'm guessing) and it took some damage on it's only flight. Scrapped it and sold it for parts.

Rocketry Warehouse Hurricane 38:
Beautiful rocket. It's built, have motors for it. Fade in black paint, polished up nice and pretty. Everytime a launch comes up I think "Ohh, my Hurricane..." then I remember I have to finish the nose cone bay, the coupler bay, get shock cords and parachutes, and rail buttons. I lean it in the corner and grab my Cowabunga and Big Daddy. Maybe one day I'll let it rip on a H250...maybe not.

LOC Viper IV:
All I've done is glue the motor tubes together and semi bevel the fins. Was turned off right away by the cheap feeling parachute and the underwear band shock cord. Shock cord is easily enough remedied but something about the rocket is keeping me from working on it. And clusters/air starts are next on my list.
 
Anything I ever failed to recover, because it couldn't have been my fault.

+1, but only because I didn't get to fly it one more time.

If I had to pick one, it would be the entire category of non-TTW 18mm Estes kits, starting with Estes Wizard.

Our cub scouts pack inherited a stash of Wizards, and gave them out to all the kids to build for launch during camporee (50+ kits in total). Swept-back balsa fins, kids gluing with PVA, what can go wrong!

After the first round of launches (500+ feet on B's), we had about 1/4 rate of fin damage.
After the second round, fewer than half were in flying shape, including a cracked fin on one of mine.
Many disappointed kids. Luckily, their attention span is measured in minutes.

I must have rebuilt those suckers five or six times after that, including epoxying the fins in place and what not. They would still come off either during transportation, or upon landing. Finally ditched them for good with relief.

My worst kit was the PML Lil Lunar Express. The fin material was way to thin and led to the fins breaking on landing every time.

Thanks for sharing this - PML Lunar Express was on my "to buy" list.
Not any more!


a
 
The Estes Star Dart. Even though a 3FNC rocket, I had decided to buy it because of the cool decal on the fin.
Turns out there is no decal - they tell you how to hand draw the pattern - but no way would I have a steady enough hand.
I felt the cover art was deceptive
OK, that's worse than mine, but then mine dates back to the supposed good old days - 1993, to be exact. It was the Estes Hornet:


See those hornet stripe stickers on the fins? And they were stickers, not proper decals - but that's not the real problem. See how, from the angle at which that picture was taken, you can see four of the hornet stripe markings? The reason you can't see the rest is not because the other fin surfaces are out of sight. The reason you can't see the rest of the hornet stripes is that they weren't there. The package picture showed four hornet stripe decals and that's exactly what you got. Not ten, to do a proper job of decorating all the main fins. Not even five, so you could at least put one on each fin. Four. They may as well not have bothered.
 
. . . .The package picture showed four hornet stripe decals and that's exactly what you got. Not ten, to do a proper job of decorating all the main fins. Not even five, so you could at least put one on each fin. Four. They may as well not have bothered.

Yeah, that's a pet peeve of mine too. Not only should they NOT under-deliver on the decals, they should throw a couple extra in there in case something gets messed up. Same goes for fins: If you're not going to throw in one extra fin to account for breakage, then at least put in a little extra balsa. You buy a kit to solve problems that you'd have to handle yourself if you were scratch-building, and if you're leaving the builder to deal with petty shortages then it's not a good kit.
 
OK, that's worse than mine, but then mine dates back to the supposed good old days - 1993, to be exact. It was the Estes Hornet:

Um...I've got news for you. The "good old days" were long before that time period. Pre-cut fins, adhesive stickers, plastic fin cans and transitions and RTF rockets chiseled away the true craftsmanship of building model rockets. I'd have to say honestly, that 2 of the early day drawbacks were those godforsaken plastic chutes and many of the ill fitting CR's that were too thin for their own good. The shock cords left something to be desired also, but at least they were longer than they are now. Kits are the pits! Hey, that might make a great T-shirt for this old fart rocketeer....hahaha.
 
Quote Originally Posted by adrian View Post
. . . .The package picture showed four hornet stripe decals and that's exactly what you got. Not ten, to do a proper job of decorating all the main fins. Not even five, so you could at least put one on each fin. Four. They may as well not have bothered.

Yeah, that's a pet peeve of mine too. Not only should they NOT under-deliver on the decals, they should throw a couple extra in there in case something gets messed up.

AGREED!
The worst offender is probably the Estes Big Daddy. The face card gives the impression of decals on all the fins. They only provide decals for one side.
I never bought the rocket because of that. The parts picture on the Estes website page does show the sparse decals.

While I do like the kits, The Launch Pad rockets were a let down with no decals. The instructions do give you information on D.I.Y. decal sizes and placement.
The face card does say something about "Decals Not included", but most would buy the model based on the picture and not the small print.
 
Estes is now crap. Junk made in China, especially disappointed in the Estes Mercury Redstone.

Thanks,

Sorry Andrew, jump off the wagon now. You're' too young to start spewing hate in this way. While it may seem 'trendy' / 'en vogue', make up your own mind & post your own thoughts..


As for the China comments, yeah, I do kinda agree. But I feel Walmart is more to blame though, forcing Estes to seeks cheaper parts and suppliers, hence the 'Made in a china'. Also for making the kits "easy" (E2X, stickers vs. decals, prepared chutes, etc..) Cheap chutes especially, and the multi language instructions. Kinda cool, but the logistics of trying to kit a kit 6 times for 6 different languages, all under the same part number to ship to multi national outlets can be a real headache..

And, I had the Hornet too. Mine had proper water slide decals, but I don't remember the number of 'stripes' included.. I might have gotten one of the 1st generation kits..

Actually, I have a few of the Estes 'sticker sheets' in my 'parts box'. Hate them..
 
OK, that's worse than mine, but then mine dates back to the supposed good old days - 1993, to be exact. It was the Estes Hornet:


See those hornet stripe stickers on the fins? And they were stickers, not proper decals - but that's not the real problem. See how, from the angle at which that picture was taken, you can see four of the hornet stripe markings? The reason you can't see the rest is not because the other fin surfaces are out of sight. The reason you can't see the rest of the hornet stripes is that they weren't there. The package picture showed four hornet stripe decals and that's exactly what you got. Not ten, to do a proper job of decorating all the main fins. Not even five, so you could at least put one on each fin. Four. They may as well not have bothered.

The MIRV doesn't have nearly enough decals either.
 
For me, I don't care as much for the decals, accuracy or placement thereof, etc. I have been disappointed when parts really fit poorly, especially cone shoulders and couplers. However, one I get over my personal hangups, I can really like the rocket. Examples are the DG&A Lazarus and the THOY Snipe. But what really bugs me is when the flights are compromised. Marginal stability is the worst, or example the Estes SS1. Mine got the extra nose weight even before it was advertised as being needed. It flew well a bunch of times until it didn't. I also don't like it when you get a heavyish rocket that has too small a body for me to get a big enough chute in. Examples are Cognis Lander and the Flis ACME Spitfire. Some of this may be a personal problem as I don't remember anyone complaining about the latter. I found the stock chutes were small and, when I used bigger ones, they didn't want to come out :( For me, BT-20s require streamers.
 
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